Why Therapy is one Badass way to Transform our Lives.

10

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 10
Shares 10
Hearts 10
Comments 10
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 10.0
114 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.
26
10.3k

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Waylon Lewis & Friends (@walkthetalkshow) on Jan 29, 2019 at 9:35am PST

“Look at this list,” my therapist said, as she slid it toward me.

It was a “laundry list” of traits common to adult children of alcoholics. I stared at her, wondering how the f*ck she could think that I had anything in common with this list.

“I’m pretty certain these don’t apply to me,” I said.

And the journey began.

I chose therapy because I was hurting. My marriage had fallen apart, and I had a nine-year-old son to take care of. My usual coping mechanisms of escaping, numbing, and detaching had failed. I was stuck, and uncomfortable in my own skin. Eventually, I found the courage to admit I needed help—the kind I couldn’t get from family or friends.

Going to therapy was not an admission of weakness. It was an act of bravery, and an opportunity to be vulnerable enough to face the core issues that I’d spent my life avoiding at all cost. It was the biggest challenge of my life.

To do this kind of work, we need a safe, nonjudgmental space, and that’s what a good therapist gives us.

In this space, we learn to be self-aware, and how to sit with our feelings. We allow our insecurities and shame to come to the surface where they can be processed. We learn to be vulnerable and compassionate with ourselves, and that is the key to accepting who we really are.

A skilled therapist guides us as we explore the swampy parts of our soul. We aren’t alone for the dark moments that stir up deep pain and emotions that bring us to tears. But as we acknowledge our feelings and say them out loud, we begin to accept them and heal. We become less afraid and more whole; our self-trust and self-esteem start to grow.

After a lot of hard work, my therapist and I revisited that laundry list of traits. I can chuckle now, because I’ve learned and accepted that I have just about every one of them. And that means I’ve come a long way.

It’s a beautiful process to feel ourselves heal, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

Therapy has been the cornerstone of my recovery from codependency. Here are six of the most important things I’ve learned:

1. Therapy is an investment in ourselves.

Our healing journey requires courage and consistency. It is painful and scary, and sometimes it sucks.

I committed to weekly sessions for a year and made a lot of progress. Sometimes I sobbed as I connected with childhood wounds. Sometimes my heart raced as I uncovered coping mechanisms I wasn’t aware of. But I mostly felt exhilarated and full of hope.

2. It’s a process, not a cure.

It’s hard work—a lot of small steps, and some big ones, too. But it takes time. It’s not easy to admit our flaws and face our fears. But it can also feel incredible when you break through and feel yourself grow. It just doesn’t happen overnight.

I view it as a process, not a cure. We are always growing, always evolving, and always facing new challenges and disappointments. It’s a journey without an end, and one where we can see how far down into the depths of our suffering we can go. The deeper we dive, the more joy we can experience in our lives.

3. We learn to unravel the narratives we have told ourselves.

A skilled therapist will hold us accountable for the stories we tell. As we dissect the stories that have kept us safe, we learn that many of them have only served to isolate us.

We can pretend our dysfunctional families and childhood traumas didn’t exist, but all we do is stockpile unprocessed pain. I made a life out of creating narratives that allowed me to avoid taking responsibility for my mistakes.

Our failures, mistakes, and painful experiences are part of us. Learning how to integrate them into our lives rather than deny them—owning our stories—is the key to our healing.

4. We discover our coping mechanisms, and how to overcome them.

I learned that I had anxiety. I would feel the jolt of adrenaline, my heart would jump, and there was a general sense of discomfort, but I never knew what it was. I usually felt compelled to discharge the anxiety, but I didn’t know how. I lashed out and got defensive. I threw blame around like grenades. And then I would shut down emotionally.

Once I became aware of this process on a conscious level, I could begin to work on it. I learned to take a pause rather than react—I realized that by learning to sit with uncomfortable anxious feelings, they would often dissipate on their own.

5. Therapy models a healthy relationship.

We learn to share and be vulnerable in front of another person. And to trust ourselves as we become aware of our emotions, and how to articulate them. We get comfortable sitting with our feelings and paying attention to our needs. These qualities are essential to learning how to set healthy boundaries.

All of these skills easily translate into our daily lives. We take home what we learn in therapy and get better at taking care of ourselves.

6. Therapy is badass.

Therapy is about finding the courage to face our fears and learning to be vulnerable enough to finally show up as our true selves. Challenging ourselves to go as deep into our pain as we can. Fighting through the tears as we tear open our hearts to not only feel our feelings, but accept them.

From this incredible journey comes more growth and more strength than we ever could’ve imagined.

~

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we will ever do.” ~ Brene Brown

author: David Baumrind

Image: @walkthetalkshow/Instagram

Image: YouTube

Editor: Nicole Cameron

10

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 10
Shares 10
Hearts 10
Comments 10
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 10.0
114 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.
26
10.3k

Read The Best Articles of January
You voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares.
CLICK TO SEE WHO WON

David Baumrind

David Baumrind is a Paramedic from Long Island, NY and a single parent to an amazing 11 year old boy. He is an avid paddle boarder and outdoorsman. He is currently traveling his path to self-awareness, and is passionate about sharing his experiences through his writing.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dbaumrind/

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

David Baumrind Feb 5, 2019 7:47am

@dizzy, I totally understand. I can’t say enough about how the safe, non-judgmental space we get in therapy is a game changer. Best of luck!

dizzyinthedesert69 Feb 5, 2019 6:15am

I have many bottled up issues and I know now that therapy may just help. You don’t want to “talk” about your personal crap with just anyone if anyone at all. This article made me see a different way that may help my feelings of loneliness and issues that i may not even know I have. It gave me a different opinion on therapy.

Janice Dolk Feb 5, 2019 5:38am

Your article has opened me to considering therapy. I have always felt I was strong enough to figure it out on my own. Thank you David. Excellent work and I will look for more of your writing; this is the first one I have read.

    David Baumrind Feb 5, 2019 7:46am

    @Janice, I totally understand. I felt as you did for a long time. However, my commitment to therapy has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

Tui Kraal Feb 4, 2019 11:14pm

Going to my first session next week… being someone who has worked with people a lot, I’m looking forward to being in that place and finding my way through it, rather than just feeling like I should know what to do because I can do that for others…

    David Baumrind Feb 5, 2019 7:45am

    @Tui, awesome! It has been invaluable for me, I hope you have a a similar experience!

Susannah-Joy Schuilenberg Feb 1, 2019 12:19pm

“Therapy is badass” indeed. The majority of people don’t know how it feels to be a part of a non-judgmental, supportive relationship. There’s nothing like a good therapist to help untangle the knots of emotional ties and wounds that we all carry as a consequence of being part of the human race.

    David Baumrind Feb 1, 2019 1:29pm

    @Susannah, thanks for your kind words. I couldn’t agree more. Has been invaluable for me!

crusc78 Feb 1, 2019 10:44am

This is excellent. Thrilled that it’s aurhored by a male, too! Men need to know that therapy is not weakness or sickness—it’s courage and healing, which men need and deserve now more than ever. This is how you widen the horizon of what it means to be masculine. It’s a much broader set of lovely traits far beyond “strong,” “stoic,” “independent,” “invincible,” etc.

    David Baumrind Feb 1, 2019 1:28pm

    @crusc78, thank you for your thoughts. I wholeheartedly agree.

elisacabal Feb 1, 2019 10:38am

Very honest, moving writing. I am now and have been on both sides of this soulful alchemy: client and therapist, and this goes straight to my heart. Thank you.

    David Baumrind Feb 1, 2019 1:26pm

    @Elisa, thanks for your kind words. Much appreciated!

Tiffini Sears Feb 1, 2019 9:56am

SO MUCH YES TO ALL OF THIS!! I’ve been in therapy for almost 6 years now and the help that I have found in that room is PRICELESS!! I am eternally grateful for the universe putting me in that office some years ago. Thank you for articulating what I’ve been trying to convey to others so they can feel encouraged to seek therapy for any number of reasons!

    David Baumrind Feb 1, 2019 1:25pm

    @Tiffany, thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you found it so beneficial to your journey!

movetoexcel Feb 1, 2019 9:24am

Talk therapy is good but complementing it with the Neuroelements approach resolves trauma emotionally and physically. Let me explain:
I saw a woman who was sexually abused as a child. She had been in therapy for many years and felt she was done, except something didn’t feel quite done in her body.

She saw me to address physical memories/limitations. I helped her feel how to release functional limitations. After the second session she walked out on a cloud – she FELT DONE and fully recovered from her trauma. Science confirms that all traumatic events are held in various ways in your body which limits functionality.

    David Baumrind Feb 1, 2019 1:24pm

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments!

Amanda Inderbitzin Jan 30, 2019 7:13pm

Another great article!

Galina Singer Jan 30, 2019 5:01pm

The courage to admit we need help is everything! Very eloquent description of the process – thanks for sharing!

pbaumrind Jan 30, 2019 2:26pm

The road to change can be very bumpy and scary. You are learning so much about yourself. You have already learned that fear is not the boss of you … COURAGE is!

Kristin Shewfelt Jan 30, 2019 11:10am

Thank you for sharing, David. I was reading my own yoga journal this morning as I treat my scoliosis with yoga. There was such strong encouragement to taking care of yourself because it’s a form of self-love, and it’s something we all really need to focus on in this all to busy world of ours. All the best to you on your journey.

David Baumrind Jan 30, 2019 8:05am

Thank you Ingoldrie! Much appreciated.

ingoldrie Jan 30, 2019 7:31am

Admire your courage! Thank you for sharing your journey.